Chapter 12. Channel conflict into learning

by Dan North

Difference of opinion in high-performing teams isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, conflict is a necessary ingredient for learning teams. In his book The Fifth Discipline (Doubleday, 1990), Peter Senge describes the twin discourse activities of dialogue, where a team explores an idea from a number of perspectives, and discussion, where they attempt to reach consensus. If everyone agrees all the time, there isn’t any stimulus for growth.

On the other hand, conflict between strong personalities can be difficult to manage and can cause factions or cliques within a team and eventually tear it apart. As a software team leader, it’ll fall to you to make the big decisions: Which technologies ...

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